Candice Wiggins certainly didn’t pull any punches as she left he WNBA. The third-overall WNBA Draft pick in 2008 and eventual league champion ripped the league in a new interview with the San Diego Tribune as being anti-straight and what she called a “very, very harmful” culture in the league.
“I wanted to play two more seasons of WNBA, but the experience didn’t lend itself to my mental state,” Wiggins told the San Diego Tribune. “It was a depressing state in the WNBA. It’s not watched. Our value is diminished. It can be quite hard. I didn’t like the culture inside the WNBA, and without revealing too much, it was toxic for me. … My spirit was being broken.”
She also claimed that “98 percent of the women in the WNBA are gay women,” and that being a straight woman in the league hurt her. It’s an interesting thought simply because it’s long been believed that the shoe has been on the other foot for so long.
Women across elite-level sports — Div. 1 college basketball and soccer, the WNBA and professional women’s soccer, hockey and basketball — have talked publicly about the inordinate number of gay and bisexual women in their sports. Ranges given to Outsports by coaches and players put the number somewhere between 33% and 85%.
The WNBA has had more current and former players and coaches come out publicly than all of the Big Five men’s leagues in North America combined.
I’m 100% sure that Wiggins’ 98% is an exaggeration by a woman who clearly felt like an outsider as a self-proclaimed straight woman.
She also made a claim that seemed to counter what we’ve been told for years, that women try to look like men “to get respect.” Stories out of the WNBA and other women’s sports leagues have always been that women are pushed to look more feminine and less “like men.”
You can judge for yourself what level of truth Wiggins’ claims may have. Like most stories of what looks like a bitter divorce, there’s probably a sprinkle of truth here and a heap of exaggeration there.